Kukla's Korner

Lemieux Won’t Sell Pens, Threatens Move

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Pittsburgh Penguins, via Sportsnet:

“Recent developments, including yesterday’s decision by the PGCB, and the recent termination of the purchase agreement by Jim Balsillie have convinced us that it is time to take control of our own destiny.
Accordingly, starting today, the team is off the market, and we will begin to explore relocation options in cities outside Pennsylvania. After seven years of trying to work out a new arena deal exclusively in Pittsburgh, we need to take into consideration the long-term viability of the team and begin discussions with other cities that may be interested in NHL teams.
As soon as we are no longer restricted by our agreement with Isle of Capri from negotiating an arena deal here, in the next few weeks, we will also begin discussions with local leaders about a viable Pittsburgh arena plan.
We will have no further comment at this time.”

Bettman’s imposition of an NHL buy-back clause on Balsillie simply laid the groundwork for a franchise move to Kansas City and it’s empty, NHL-friendly 18,500-seat arena.

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Credit The Vote-O-Matic

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from James Mirtle at the Globe and Mail,

Score one for the legions of Internet denizens who wanted to see Fitzpatrick in this January’s all-star contest; with the Vote-O-Matic on his side, his selection seems all but a lock.

read on

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Gift Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hockey Rants is in the giving mood…

Greg and Gőlbez, two of Santa’s busiest middle managers (We’re the ones who get to tazer the unproductive elves and goblins in Santa’s sweatshop), were put in charge of distrubuting gifts to those in and around the NHL sphere.
We’re made our lists and checked them twice.
We definitely prefer naughty over nice.

read on

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Wings PP Will Reach Top 10

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Via ESPN,

Babcock thought his group was moving the puck and doing the things necessary for power-play success. Basically, he thought the unit, led by four-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom, would find its way. And, it seems, they have. In their first nine December games, the Wings have converted 13 of 53 power-play chances. In other words, they've scored one more power-play goal in their last nine games (entering Wednesday's tilt vs. Columbus) than they did in their first 23.
More

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NBC Will Promo NHL During NFL Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sports Business Daily, (paid sub.),

NBC will debut new promos for the NHL, one of its lowest-rated sports properties, during the Eagles-Cowboys game on Christmas evening, which is likely to draw one of the network’s largest audiences of the NFL season. Anticipating a strong rating for the key rivalry game, NBC will introduce viewers to the “Game of the Week” concept and try to alter NHL fans’ traditional home team affinity into more of a national interest in the sport. Around 60% of the country will get the Penguins-Flyers game when NBC’s schedule starts January 13, so Penguins C Sidney Crosby will get a promotional push.

Continue Reading »

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Hockey Attracts Women

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Des Moines Register,

Alter that stereotypical image of hockey fans as beer-guzzling, mullet-sporting males and make room for moms, sisters and daughters.
In fact, 41 percent of fans ages 12 and older who attended NHL games were female, according to the league and spring 2005 figures from Simmons Market Research. That figure exceeded those of the other “big four” professional sports leagues in the United States - Major League Baseball, the NBA and NFL.
“It was a surprising fact some years ago, but the American Hockey League and National Hockey League all know that women are really attracted to the sport,” said John Pettit, Iowa Stars president, who also held top management positions at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena and with the AHL’s Hartford franchise. “The surprising thing is they’ll often come kicking and screaming with their husbands. But after that, they’ll be bringing the husbands kicking and screaming.”

read on

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Gift Giving Mood

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam MacCaig at the Hockey News,

So if you’re heading out for some last-minute shopping, here’s what to pick up for the NHL team on your list:
Los Angeles: If only the Kings could somehow ship Jimmy Carson and $15 million to Pittsburgh in exchange for Sidney Crosby…
Minnesota: The keys to Dominik Hasek’s house, so someone can sneak in and steal that new and improved groin muscle…and give it to Marian Gaborik.
St. Louis: Amnesia.

check out the gifts for every NHL team…

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Marketing The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Province,

Still, the NHL’s clumsy handling of one of its greatest assets registers with Reitman. In Crosby, the NHL has a young, media-genic superstar with immense crossover appeal. In Alexander Ovechkin, the league has a similar talent and the perfect foil for Crosby.
So how do you market these two dazzling stars? How do you maximize their presence around the league?
“Crosby and Ovechkin are hockey’s Bird and Magic,” Reitman said. “But it’s even better than that. It’s North America versus Europe. It’s Rocky IV [the Ivan Drago one].
“It’s what works in the NBA. It’s heroes and villains. It’s story-telling.”

more

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Recalling Junior Days

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the National Post,

It is the Calgary Flames’ longest trip of the winter.
It is also presently snowed under in Denver.
“Oh, I’ve got a story,” says defenceman Robyn Regehr, overhearing one tale of road woe and anxious to contribute another.
Regehr isn’t alone.
Every player in that dressing room, every coach on that bench, every broadcaster in that booth, has a story that can punch a hole in the Flames’ current cruise, a story that can punch a hole in the hardship of most National Hockey League journeys.

more

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Could Balsillie Still Buy The Pens

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

Wednesday, Balsillie said he was prepared to make another bid for the team.
“All it takes is three motivated parties and a five-minute phone call to get this deal back on track,” he said in a e-mail referring to himself, the NHL and the Penguins’ current owners. “We’ve fully studied the situation, and are prepared to complete the purchase and immediately commence good faith ‘Plan B’ negotiations with the government officials to keep the team in Pittsburgh.”
It’s not clear whether the owners would welcome Balsillie back. On Monday, Lemieux said he was “shocked and offended” by Balsillie’s withdrawal and threatened to withhold his $10-million deposit.

read on

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